The World of the Double Thank You
The following observation is not by any means unique to me. Have you ever noticed when you are in a retail purchase situation you will almost always receive a thank you from the cashier or sales clerk? This should not strike anyone as unusual. I mean of course they are thankful you made a purchase. There are many retail choices in the market and the landscape is competitive to say the least. So it stands to reason that they would thank you for choosing to make your purchase with them.
Consider though, your response. Almost always we find ourselves saying thank you right back to the cashier or store clerk. It is so automatic we probably don’t realize that we are saying it. Upon first thought this seems kind of odd. Why would we say thank you to them? We, as consumers, are doing them a favor, right? To be polite we might say, you’re welcome but thank you seems somewhat out of place. Yet we continually say thank you right back to the salesperson anyway.
The reason we do is actually quite logical upon reflection. We are thankful for the purchase we just made. We are thankful that the store had what we were looking for, at a price we found reasonable and that the whole transaction was conducted in a friendly, efficient manner in an attractive venue. We are thankful because in this transaction we won just as much as the retailer won.
That is the reality of voluntary exchange; both sides win. When allowed, people engage in transactions and exchanges that produce win-win outcomes. I value the shirt more than the $20 it cost; the retailer valued the $20 more than the shirt. We both get what we want at an exchange ratio that is acceptable to us. Therefore we are both thankful. All that is required for such transactions to occur is for there to be a lack of force or coercion present.
It is the lack of coercion and violence in these transactions that make such social arrangements inherently morally superior to other arrangements. It is what makes market based interactions morally acceptable and forced exchanges morally repugnant. As is clear by the phenomenon of the double thank you these arrangements are also much more practically efficacious and indeed pleasant.
This is one of the main reasons why market based economies perform at a startlingly higher level of productivity and produce much greater and widespread material wealth than economies dominated by socialistic policies. When allowed to make mutually beneficial transactions based on our voluntarily expressed desires society tends to more rationally allocate resources and more efficiently produce more goods of better quality at a lower cost.
Socialistic economies driven by political considerations by contrast create a world of the double fuck you. In a politically dominated environment there are only winners and losers as opposed to winners and winners. One side exercises power and control and the other must submit or revolt. This makes such arrangements inherently immoral and worthy of derision by reasonable people, especially the Christian faithful. Power and domination are anathema to God’s plan for His children and they produce the disastrous results that one would expect to flow from sinful behavior.
The beauty of the insight into the world of the double thank you is that when we consider this phenomenon we can see up close how much better it is to cooperate, the way God always intended. How much more pleasant it is to live in a world where a clerk cheerfully says thank you to us and we just as cheerfully reply thank you! We are, without even realizing it living out a more Gospel filled life just by relying on the power of non-violent, voluntary interactions with our neighbors.
So the next time you are listening to someone claim that they have a great idea for a government intrusion into our voluntary interactions with one another consider the world that this creates. A world of one side against another, a world of tribalism and beggar thy neighbor policies. A world of domination and submission. A world where the tendrils that God has provided us to live peacefully and prosperously are loosened and frayed. The world of the double fuck you!
Also consider the reality of a world in which people are allowed to interact freely and peacefully. Think about this every time you are at a checkout line and hear a clerk thank you for your business. You can respond much more intentionally with a God-filled thank you! Now that’s what I call Kingdom living!
Praise Be to God